Today’s Gospel is an example of John at his best. He gives us a wonderfully descriptive and charming description of the disciples’ behavior and attitudes, post resurrection and paints a purposeful description of post resurrection Jesus.
There are some who criticize Peter’s and the others’ decision to go fishing, claiming he is already bored with things after the resurrection and wanted to go back to his old life. It doesn’t appear that Jesus has any problem with the disciples fishing. As a matter of fact, he helps them catch a huge net full of fish.
There is a wonderful exchange between Jesus and Peter regarding how Peter is to proceed now and in the future. Peter’s job is to feed Jesus’ sheep and then to continue to follow him. While we may feel badly for Peter because it seems as though Jesus doubted whether Peter could handle his new calling, Peter likely is stung by the memory of his denial and abandonment of Jesus during his passion, still Jesus is simply making the point by repeating his command several times. Peter didn’t really understand Jesus, not his mission in Jesus’ human life, and now, with the history of Peter’s failures and denials, Jesus is simply making sure he gets it.
As poorly as Peter performed in understanding Jesus prior to the resurrection, he does rally to not only understand, but follow and lead very successfully. Peter’s example should be encouraging to all of us who struggle with our faith. We don’t have to be perfect. We can suffer through our faults, mistakes and loss of faith, but have confidence in Jesus’ forgiveness and love.
If Peter with all his limitations, can be one of Jesus’ most favorite disciple….so can we!
Fr. James Kirby